Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Comedy Death Ray This Week: A Doug Benson Interruption CD Recording

At the UCB Theatre in LA this week, Comedy Death Ray deviated from its usual format. Rather than a normal Comedy Death Ray (a series of comedians perform with a host), this week's was the second part to an ongoing recording of a "The Doug Benson Interruption" CD to be released on A Special Thing Records in the future. So unlike most Comedy Death Ray shows, you may actually be able to hear this one. It's worth noting that the evening lasted about two hours, and since this was the second recording of comics for the album, odds are it's going to get trimmed down. (Unless someone's really cool and makes it a mega-MP3 download or a quad-CD set.)

So which famous or soon-to-be-famous faces did you miss by not going this week?

  • Doug Benson was host and master of the mostly not-fawkward show. As usual, he had fresh material and kept the show moving despite the ever-looming deadlines. Since this was part of his big CD release party, he seemed to be high on his new album and everybody seemed to have a great time watching him interrupt other comics perform for the CD. It's a really amazing format, so many comics have to rewrite their material to awkwardly fit the talk show couch format and this lets a host interact with the comedian in a much more natural (and funny) way. This would be a good format for a TV show, if any network still airs stand-up these days.
  • Paul Scheer of Human Giant and 30 Rock had a marvelous set focusing largely on the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego. I've never had the fortune of seeing Scheer perform before, and he did a wonderful job letting us know about all the free crap he picked up at the show, which, as someone who does exactly that, I can assure you is a marvelous bit.
  • From Last Comic Standing is Amy Schumer. She ranked slightly higher than Doug Benson on the season they appeared on the show, and she worked her way into a bit about her time at the Special Olympics after a night of partying that, if given the chance, you need to hear. (So if it makes the cut on the CD, we'll remind you to buy it.)
  • Curator of Comedy Death Ray (and CDR Radio), former Mr. Show performer, and I presume some sort of future talk show host Scott Aukerman brought us a great set with even more top-notch Comic-Con material and much, much more.
  • The infamous Andy Dick showed up without a set so much as a segment which was a good mix of comedy, an interview, and a prank call to Dr. Drew, which is really a sort of amusing comic trifecta. He also introduced us to his ankle bracelet, and apparently he had a whole setlist which he didn't get to tackle yet. And he's been sober for over a year, if you were curious.
  • The always wonderful Chris Hardwick finished off the set and he was clearly hurried along as the previous sets ran over. Despite having performed at the same venue mere weeks ago, he had completely different material which slowly burned into more of a fight on if his set should end or if there's time for one more bit. Awesome. You never fail to entertain, former host of Shipmates.

We're not sure what will make the cut for the disc(s?), but one recurring theme was that people kept getting up, walking around, and distracting the comedians who addressed the audience but those watching the show didn't have the courtesy to acknowledge the performers. Are UCB patrons now officially too cool to participate in crowd work? It looks like it. As always, we're less about spoiling the whole show and more about making you mad that you weren't there. It was fantastic and it's your own damn fault that you missed it, so be sure to go next time.

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